Lavaca-Tres Palacios Estuary: a study of the influence of freshwater inflows




Texas Department of Water Resources

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Texas Department of Water Resources


Senate Bill 137 mandates a comprehensive study of environmental variables, especially freshwater inflow, which affect Texas estuarine ecosystems. This report presents the results of the studies of the Lavaca-Tres Palacios estuary. In this report, biotic and abiotic factors are conceptually related, enabling the use of numerical analysis for the identification of maintenance needs. Many estuarine maintenance needs are directly related to freshwater inflow and associated quality constituents. In some cases, these needs may be exceeded in importance by the basic availability of substrate and/or habitat in the ecosystem. Fundamental to these discussions is the concept of seasonal dynamics; that is, the environmental needs of an estuarine ecosystem are not static annual needs. Extended periods of inflow conditions which consistently fall below maintenance levels can lead to a degraded estuarine environment, loss of important nursery functions for estuarine-dependent fish and shellfish resources, and a reduction in the potential for assimilation of organic and nutritive wastes.


325 pgs.


inflow, ecosystems, hydrology, water quality, food chains, life cycle, habitat, modeling, indicators, estuaries, estuarine dynamics, circulation, salinity, nutrients, fisheries